USGA Taking The Initiative Suggesting ‘Bridge-Mending’ Means For LIV Players Into Future US Opens

It’s now over a year since the PGA Tour that steps were being planned to mend the broken bridges in the men’s professional game but what has transpired?

Now with thanks to the USGA, and organisers of this week’s 129th anniversary of the US Open and the New Jersey-based body indicated it will examine creating a path for LIV Golf players into future US Open Championship.

It news coming from USGA CEO Mike Whan that the golf world has been crying out to happen.

“We’re going to talk about it this off-season, whether or not there needs to be a path to somebody or somebodies that are performing really well on LIV that can get a chance to play in that way,” said Whan.

USGA CEO Mike Wran – Photo USGA

“I think we’re serious about that. Exactly what that looks like and how that’ll curtail, I’m not just being coy, we haven’t done that yet.”

There is a dozen LIV players, including a number of former US Open winners, teeing-up this week at the famed Pinehurst No. 2 course but as we all know, the doors into the majors for all LIV players are not that easy to pass through and not helped that LIV Golf tournaments are denied World Ranking points.

“I think it’s feasible,” added Whan.

“I don’t think it’s a huge pathway, but we do offer other pathways through DP or Korn Ferry, so we know that there’s an option to get there.”

LIV Golf’s financiers, the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund (PIF) and PGA Tour Enterprises, the tour’s new for-profit arm created in a deal with US sports team owners, are making progress in merger talks that have dragged on for more than a year since last June’s controversial framework agreement was unveiled.

Tiger Woods, among negotiators at a meeting last Friday in New York, said, “We all felt very positive in that meeting. Both sides were looking at different ways to get to the endgame.”

The USGA still waits to see what comes out of those talks as it has for months.

“We’ve always felt like for the last maybe year and a half that we’re always three months away from kind of understanding what the new structure is going to look like,” Whan said.

“So before we react — what’s LIV going to be? What’s the PGA Tour? — we always felt like we’re just about to know that answer, so let’s figure that out.”

Whan noted that there was a sizeable 35 LIV Golf players among those given an exemption into final 36-hole qualifying, although many did not make the attempt.

“If they really wanted to be here, they could go play 36 holes and qualify, and some did, to their credit,” Whan said.

“We’re not a closed door. If you want to be here — you’ve got to want to be here, but if you want to be here — there’s certainly a way to get here.”

Three LIV Golf players reached the field through qualifying — South African Dean Burmester and Spaniards David Puig and Eugenio Chacarra.

“There’s no out-of-bounds stakes on our field criteria,” added Wran. “It doesn’t require a committee or an invitation. If you want to play in this field you’ve got an opportunity to play in this field, and we’re proud of that.”

LIV would have had 13 in the lineup but eighth-ranked Jon Rahm, a two-time major winner from Spain, withdrew due to a left foot injury.

The USGA, staging its 1,000th championship event this week, announced a winner’s prize of $4.3 million from a total purse of $21.5 million.

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